Molly and Alcohol

Mixing any drug with alcohol is risky, but drinking and taking molly is especially dangerous. It can cause severe dehydration and increase the risk of organ damage and the potential for risky behavior, such as drunk driving.
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Molly is often consumed with alcohol, but combining the substances is dangerous. Mixing molly and alcohol can cause severe dehydration, which can contribute to the drug’s toxic, and sometimes deadly, effects.

MDMA, which is often sold as molly or ecstasy, can also mask alcohol’s sedating effects. This may make a person more apt to take part in risky behaviors, such as drunk driving or indiscriminate sex. Mixing alcohol with MDMA also increases a person’s risk of organ damage.

Why Do People Mix Alcohol and Ecstasy?

Molly is a popular fixture at electronic dance music festivals and in the club scene. Because alcohol use is rampant at such venues, the pairing of the two substances is common.

Some people combine the substances to enhance the euphoric effects of molly — and research provides a scientific explanation for why this happens.

A 2002 study in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics analyzed the interactions between MDMA and alcohol. Researchers found that the concentration of MDMA in the participants’ blood increased 13 percent after they drank alcohol.

While the MDMA-alcohol combination actually reduced blood alcohol levels by up to 15 percent, study subjects experienced a longer euphoric high than when they used either of the drugs alone.

The study also found that MDMA decreased alcohol’s sedative effects, but it did not reduce feelings of being drunk.

The researchers concluded that this could have dangerous consequences because an individual might feel more sober than they actually were. This could potentially increase the chances of impaired driving and other risk-taking.

The risk of MDMA addiction is low. But because mixing ecstasy and alcohol causes a longer-lasting high, the authors theorized that combining the drugs could have a higher abuse potential than using MDMA alone.

Health Effects of Mixing Molly and Alcohol

Mixing ecstasy and alcohol can contribute to serious health complications, including dehydration and organ damage.

Young people made more than 10,000 ecstasy-related emergency department visits in 2011, according to a 2013 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. Nearly 30 percent of those visits also involved alcohol use.

News reports of young people being hospitalized after combining alcohol and molly at electronic dance music festivals are common.

Overheating and Dehydration

MDMA overdoses are often associated with dehydration and severe overheating. Some people’s body temperatures have reached as high as 110 degrees, often after dancing for hours on end and not drinking enough water.

Alcohol, which is a diuretic, can worsen MDMA-related dehydration, leading to heatstroke, kidney failure and even death.

Organ Damage

Used separately, MDMA and alcohol can cause damage to the brain and liver. Combining MDMA and alcohol increases the risk of brain and liver damage.

Research on rodents suggests that mixing alcohol and MDMA may also affect the heart. A 2015 study published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE found that combining alcohol and MDMA increased stress on the animals’ hearts at the cellular level.

Other Effects

A 2011 study published in the journal Psychopharmacology found that adolescent mice given MDMA and alcohol appeared to be anxious and depressed, and their movement was impaired. The animals also exhibited brain inflammation upon autopsy.

Interestingly, the study showed that combining alcohol and MDMA reduced temperature elevation in mice. Despite that seemingly positive finding, the negative effects of mixing alcohol and molly outweigh the possible benefits, and people should avoid combining the drugs.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Amy Keller, RN, BSN
Content Writer,
As a former journalist and a registered nurse, Amy draws on her clinical experience, compassion and storytelling skills to provide insight into the disease of addiction and treatment options. Amy has completed the American Psychiatric Nurses Association’s course on Effective Treatments for Opioid Use Disorder and continuing education on Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). Amy is an advocate for patient- and family-centered care. She previously participated in Moffitt Cancer Center’s patient and family advisory program and was a speaker at the Institute of Patient-and Family-Centered Care’s 2015 national conference.

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